Forget Everything You Have Learned About Negotiations In The Past

Date: December 4, 2012
Type: AFA Article

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Dear Flying Partners:

Unifying under the world's leading Flight Attendant Agreement is crucial as we continue to build our future together at the world's largest airline.  We are focused on negotiating a successor Contract to our current Collective Bargaining Agreements that is industry leading in compensation, work rules and benefits.

We are committed to the fundamental principle that these negotiations are about you and are committed to the fact that we have an historic opportunity to advance our Flight Attendant profession through our negotiations.  The reality is that these negotiations are new to all of us. 

Forget everything you have learned about negotiations in the past.  Typically, we would be amending an existing Contract in accordance with Section 6 of the Railway Labor Act which is triggered by the amendable date.  These negotiations are not going to be that simple.  These negotiations are necessitated by the merger and are about building a new Contract for the combined Flight Attendant workforce at an operationally merged United Airlines.  Due to these realities, our negotiations will require the unprecedented support of every Flight Attendant to be successful.  Visit our Joint Negotiations website:  OurUnited.org, and show your support of our Joint Negotiating Committee by demonstrating your Solidarity with our new bag tag. 

While these negotiations in some ways are different, all negotiations typically follow a four-step path: 

  • Preparation
  • Information exchange between the parties
  • Negotiating directly
  • Commitment through an agreement and ratification

Today, we are moving into the information exchange phase of our negotiations and we will be meeting with management representatives in Chicago.

As evidenced by the current state of the merger, management has great incentive to work with labor to achieve operational integration.  All of the other labor groups are at various stages of negotiations and our preparations for these negotiations began long ago.  Earlier this year, Flight Attendants from each subsidiary ratified separate Contracts paving the way for these Joint Negotiations.

These historic negotiations will unify Flight Attendants from pre-merger United, Continental and Continental Micronesia under one Collective Bargaining Agreement.  We have utilized your feedback to guide us in formulating our Opening Proposals.
             
To identify Flight Attendant priorities our Joint Negotiating Committee primarily used:

  • survey results
  • call for proposal results
  • direct feedback from Members
  • recommendations from our committees
  • direction from Local Presidents

Moving forward it's important to understand that our negotiations will not occur in a vacuum; the condition of the economy, the industry and most importantly our Solidarity will influence the progress and outcome of our upcoming negotiations. 

You are key to the success of our negotiations.  Together we can achieve a new Collective Bargaining Agreement that represents the collective priorities of our community and sets a new standard for our proud profession.

Recently, the Master Executive Councils (MEC) for Continental, Continental Micronesia and United Airlines held special meetings for the purpose of reviewing the proposed Contract language.   At the conclusion of the meeting all three of the Master Executive Councils voted unanimously to approve the Opening Proposals that have been completed.  Our Opening Proposals are built upon the priorities identified by you and represent the aspirations across our community to improve upon our individual and collective terms of employment.  Recognize that these proposals are opening positions and are subject to negotiation.  Rest assured that, as always, we will focus on achieving the highest priorities identified by you as we work toward reaching a new Contract that is reflective of the potential associated with a world-class global airline. 

In Solidarity,

Master Executive Council Presidents

Marcus Valentino
Continental
Suzanne Hendricks
Continental Micronesia
Greg Davidowitch
United

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